On a seven-state tour to support gun control policies, former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) and husband Mark Kelly stopped by the Clark County Shooting Complex in Las Vegas and fired a weapon for the first time since one was fired at her in 2011.
Giffords and Kelly are on their “Rights and Responsibilities” bus tour, hoping to appeal to moderate Republicans and sportsmen to support expanded background checks for gun buyers. Kelly in particular has been outspoken about the matter of background checks, going so far as buying an assault rifle on a whim just to show how easy it is.
Both Giffords and Kelly say they’re gun owners but Giffords has not fired a weapon since being shot in the head by Jared Lee Loughner, who went on to kill other six people that day in 2011 before he was clobbered when he dropped a magazine he was about to load into his Glock 19.
Kelly and Giffords support an expanded background check namely because Loughner actually passed a background check to obtain his firearm at a Tucson gun store. No warnings came up about Loughner in the system despite several clear signs that he could pose a threat, like being kicked out of his college for mental health issues and multiple police encounters for drug possession.
“In the case of the shooter in Tucson, the information on his mental illness that caused him to get expelled from community college that should have been in the system,” Kelly told Fox News host Chris Wallace in March. “His admitted drug use to the U.S. Army that rejected him should have been in the system. So he should have, if we had a system, if we improved the system, he would have been rejected from buying a gun in the gun store.”
Giffords echoed this sentiment in an editorial published in Tuesday’s edition of USA Today. “We can’t stop every person who is determined to do harm, but common-sense measures can prevent tragedies,” she wrote. “Expanding background checks will help create a uniform standard for all gun purchases and prevent criminals and the dangerously mentally ill from obtaining powerful weapons.”
“As gun owners, my husband and I understand that the Second Amendment is most at risk when a criminal or deranged person commits a gun crime,” Giffords added. “These acts only embolden those who oppose gun ownership. Promoting responsible gun laws protects the Second Amendment and reduces lives lost from guns.”
This video is from YouTube, published Monday, July 1, 2013.
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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